ROYAL Bournemouth Hospital’s new slip road is expected to be open in the autumn. 

Work on the new road on Wessex Fields, off the A338, begun last month with workmen and excavators already digging up the ground in preparation. 

Costing between £4.3m and £4.4m, the slip road will not be used for the general public (patients and visitors). 

Instead, it’s only accessible for hospital staff, deliveries and potentially emergency services vehicles. 

Bournemouth Echo: Digger on siteDigger on site (Image: Daily Echo)

The aim, University Hospital’s Dorset (UHD) has said, is to reduce traffic and congestion along Castle Lane East. 

The road will only be accessible for staff, deliveries and potentially blue light vehicles as well. 

Read more: 'Welcome to Bournemouth' bridge to close for six months

Steve Killen, UHD’s transformation director, said: “Following enabling works, and satisfying all planning conditions, the construction of the Wessex Fields link road started in February. 

“On completion in September, the road will alleviate traffic congestion from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital site at the Deansleigh Rd/Castle Lane East junction, while enhancing pedestrian and cyclist access. 

“The project is due to complete in advance of any hospital reconfiguration, and within the agreed budget.” 

Bournemouth Echo: Wessex FieldsWessex Fields

Initially, UHD expected the work to begin last May and be ready for use at the end of 2023 but it is not known why there has been a near year delay in starting the work. The Echo has asked UHD why. 

UHD did confirm the costs, which it warned could spiral by £500k if the planning application was not agreed in April 2023, would not be affected by the delays. 

The scheme will see the demolition of existing garages and trees removed as well as other on-site work to create the link road. 

As reported, with the work expected to last until potentially September, BCP Council has closed public access to the Welcome to Bournemouth footbridge until mid-October – although it can reopen earlier if the work is finished earlier. 

Land for the access road which will link the A338 to Deansleigh Road was sold to UHD in February 2021 after approval from BCP Council. 

BCP Council is the current owner of the rest of Wessex Fields, but the authority is looking to sell off the land. UHD has expressed an interest in purchasing the land, but no decisions have been made yet.